By: Kara Haselton
Thanksgiving! What a wonderful holiday! The principle behind this holiday is one of the purest and incorruptible of all holidays: to simply give thanks for what we have.
Oh, but surprise! Consumerism.
Every fourth Thursday of November, families take time off of school and work to sit down with each other and reflect on how blessed they are. To some, Thanksgiving may be a miserable time due to various factors. I, on the other hand, adore this holiday; it’s actually my favorite. It’s one of the only times of the year that you can sit down with the people you love, not necessarily your family, and just relax. We eat lots of gorgeous, homemade food, play our favorite games, listen to music, and talk to each other. It’s a beautiful time when we can realize that while life is hard and things don’t always go the way we want them to, we are so blessed. It’s such an innocent and authentic holiday that it’s hard to make miserable.
Unless, that is, you’re an American who in anyway, shape, or form, participates in Black Friday. I’m not saying that Black Friday is a bad thing. However, I do find it ironic that just the day after we recognize how blessed we are, we go and display our greediness by buying out entire stores because ‘we have to get those Christmas presents.’ I mean, I enjoy going out with everyone else in America and running over each other to get the mall to buy clothes at 75% off retail and waiting in line for three hours afterwards. But why it has to be the day after Thanksgiving, I don’t know.
But have you noticed that every year, ‘Black Friday Sales’ actually start on Thursday– Thanksgiving. Hm. Not only does that encourage people to cut their day of relaxation and thanks-giving short, but it forces those employees of said stores to have to work on their Thanksgiving. Here’s a newsflash: You might be off of school or your work for Thanksgiving, but not everyone is. Sure, you’re glad you get to be home, but what about those people who don’t?
That’s why I appreciate stores like REI and malls like The Mall of America that have chosen to be closed on Thanksgiving. They give their employees and customers a day to actually stop and enjoy life, rather than continually trying to ‘get more.’ REI initiated it this year by coining the hashtag #OptOutside which asks that people choose to be outside, enjoying Thanksgiving together rather than going in stores and shopping.
Even if you don’t follow REI’s advice and visit the outdoors on Thanksgiving, don’t let Black Friday drown out your holiday. Spend time with the people you love. Spend time being thankful. Because we have all been blessed in different ways, but sometimes we’re just too distracted to notice.